Communication 101

imagesCA95HDS6I’m sure you all remember playing the game telephone as children.  Your teacher would whisper something to one of your classmates and then you would take turns passing it along.  Usually by the time you reached the last student the original message had been modified to something more amusing.   Then your teacher would proceed to educate you on the importance of being clear and concise in your personal communication to avoid errors in the future.  I bet your teacher never realized just how important that lesson would be in today’s business world.

Here are a few easy tips to remember when communicating with your clients and coworkers.

1. Be Clear & Direct. Be certain the information you need to convey is clear and directly communicated.
2. Actively Listen. Make a conscious effort to truly hear what the other person is saying.

3. Paraphrase. Use a variation on “What I hear you saying is . . .” to accomplish this.

4. Face-to-Face. Regardless of the conversation, try to keep it positive. Even the harshest feedback can and should be delivered in a positive, supportive, team-centric manner.

5. Message & Medium.  When you need to deliver a message, consider whether it should be spoken or written depending on the content as well as the preference of your receiver.

6. Tailor Conversation to Audience. Communicating with your boss, co-worker, customer or supplier may require a slightly different style.

Build a continuous stream of the best IT talent.

Partner with your recruiting firm to find the best people.

Team Of 8 Blue People Holding Up Connected Pieces To A Colorful Puzzle That Spells Out "Team," Symbolizing Excellent Teamwork, Success And Link Exchanging Clipart Illustration GraphicAs technology changes, so do the skill sets possessed by the best IT people. To stay ahead of your competition, you need IT people that reflect the current and future developments in technology. Which means, like it or not, your search for great IT people will be ongoing and adaptive. And hopefully, relentless.

So, how can you develop a strong and effective IT sourcing strategy to build and maintain the best possible IT team? Build a strong relationship with your recruiting firm. With their help, you can then take steps like the following to increase the quality of IT professionals who join your company.

1. Hunt for them on their turf.

Your recruiting firm is paid to be experts on what IT professionals want. Use that expertise to make your sourcing more efficient and effective.

• Check out the local scene first.

Lots of great IT professionals may be right under your nose, and it’s always easier to recruit someone who wouldn’t have to move for a new job. A high percentage of IT professionals say that location and the daily commute they would have plays an important part in their decision making process.

• Post your open positions online.

The first thing an IT professional will do is to look at the job postings online. And while this is not the most effective way to find the best people, it enhances your company’s brand and presence. You may get a couple people worth looking at, and coupled with the highly-screened candidates from your recruiting firm, you should be well on your way to a few good interviews.

• Think like an IT professional.

And give them the information they are looking for. Work with your recruiting firm to develop a thorough description of each position… and include a description of the corporate culture they can expect when they join your firm. This will save lots of time screening because you know the people you talk to are more likely to be a good fit.

• Network.

The talented IT professionals will be doing it, so you should too. Between you and your recruiting firm, put the word on the street that you are ALWAYS looking for the best IT people… and that you have several open positions now. Go to network events, seminars, and educational events that IT pros attend. Your presence at these events is all part of your brand.

2. Build an IT environment that’s irresistible to them.

The best candidates look for the best opportunities. What your company offers says a lot about the value you put on IT professionals. And it’s NOT always about money.

• Highlight career advancement opportunities

Almost every IT professional you will meet will say that the chance to advance is a primary (if not THE most important) factor when choosing an employer. Show them that you understand this. If you don’t already, offer formal courses, CEU programs, on-the-job projects and rotations, and anything else that will help them achieve their professional goals.

• Show them they’re not just a number

IT professionals work with machines all day, they don’t want to be treated like one. Demonstrate to candidates that you do everything possible to help them maintain a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives. Give them examples of after-work activities and other non-business events that co-workers are involved in.

• OK, money is still important.

You don’t have to break the bank, but you should be prepared to be competitive when it comes to compensation. Rely on your recruiting firm to give you expertise when it comes to what IT candidates in certain areas will expect when it comes to salary, benefits, and responsibilities.

3. Partner closely with your recruiting firm.

It may sound like a simplified answer, because it is. Staying on top of the IT industry and staying in touch with the best candidates in their fields is precisely what recruiting professionals do. So use them. It is the number one proven way to find the best people in the most efficient manner.

Make sure that your recruiting firm does the following things. (If they aren’t doing these things, you need to recruit a new recruiting firm.)

• Maintain a broad network of IT professionals.

IT talent relies heavily on recruiters that they trust. The recruiters who maintain a large number of contacts have obviously proven that they are valuable to IT professionals when they are changing jobs. And they will be the first person IT professionals will call when they are ready to change jobs. You want your recruiter to have the inside track with lots of good people.

• Have a strong brand/reputation as an IT recruiter.

There are a lot of small and inexperienced IT recruiters out there, and the best IT talent will recognize them immediately and avoid them. Pick a recruiter that has made a name for themselves by consistently pair talented IT professionals with quality companies.

• Place a high value on referrals.

Talented IT professionals tend to hang out with other talented IT professionals. Your recruiting firm should know this, and work hard to maintain relationships with all their placements. Because when it comes time to find the right person, they can tap into the power of the people they already know and who already trust them.

• Know how to stand out from the crowd.

Talented IT professionals will often receive more than 20 recruiting calls each week. Your recruiter had better know what to say and how to talk to them if they intend to attract the attention of the best people. A great recruiting firm will always get the call backs before a mediocre recruiting firm.

• Asks the right questions and has the right information.

Don’t work with any recruiter that doesn’t ask questions about your company as well as the available position. Your recruiting firm should be able to sell your corporate culture to a prospect as well as you could… and that means knowing your company inside and out. Conversely, you should also expect them to know everything relevant about candidates they present to you – background, previous positions, skills sets, goals, personality, etc.